Time to get started in the garden

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Finally the garden is warming up and ready for some tending – but also for some leaving alone, says gardener Pete Harcom

Try to leave a patch of un-mown long grass in your garden.

Well, once again last month was a cold one, wasn’t it? May should be a lot warmer, but do still keep an eye on the weather forecast and protect any early outdoor sowings and plantings with fleece. Your new bedding plants may need to wait to be planted out until towards the end of May.

Jobs for this month:

  • Continue to keep on top of weed growth – my best tip is to simply hoe them off regularly while they are easy to handle.
  • Aerate the lawn with a garden fork to avoid compaction and moss growth. After the aeration, apply a slow-release granular fertiliser (small granules will reduce the scorch potential).
  • Birds will be nesting now – please check hedges before trimming them back. In fact, it’s probably best to leave the hedges until late summer if at all possible.
  • Prune back your spring flowering shrubs such as deutzia, choisya, weigela and philadelphus – these can all be pruned after flowering to maintain shape. Also, trim back aubretia and alyssum after flowering to increase fresh growth before they get too leggy.
  • Daffodils and spring flowering bulbs can be lifted now; divide them to increase plants for next year. Continue to deadhead tulips and daffs as the flowers fade.
  • Planning ahead for your own spring bedding for next year, between now and July is a good time to sow wallflowers, pansies and daisies in a spare piece of ground. They are biennials (they take two years to flower) so you need to plant them now to enjoy them next year.
  • Why not create a wildflower meadow this year? Even in a small garden this will attract so many of our native insects and animals. Native wildflowers are a food source which will attract bees, butterflies and birds to your garden. The Wildlife Trusts have some great advice on how to grow a wild patch. Even the smallest wildflower meadow will provide homes and food for wildlife and benefit biodiversity. Native wildflowers provide pollen and nectar to help sustain the insects that pollinate our food crops.
  • It’s #NoMowMay … Try to leave a patch of un-mown long grass in your garden. Butterflies, for instance, like to lay eggs in flowering grasses. Some types of butterfly and moth only ever lay their eggs on specific native plants.
  • This may be a time to re-evaluate the positioning of plants – think about any plant failures or poor growth which may be due to siting and their location in your garden.

Spronsored by Thorngrove garden Centre

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